Utility Strikes – a thing of the past
The Kobus Pipe Puller significantly reduces the risk of utility strikes. It easily replaces old gas or water service pipes with new PE pipe in a single operation. The Pipe Puller extracts the old pipe from the ground, and tows in the new pipe through the same bore hole created by the old pipe being removed. As a result, there is minimal risk of potential damage to other utilities in the vicinity.
The underground utility infrastructure is vast and congested. A combination of some or all of the gas, water, electric power, telecoms, cable TV, sewers and drains, serve individual properties. The exact location of each service utility is imprecise due to inaccurate mapping changes over the decades. As a result, a common problem when replacing old or leaking service pipes is the high risk of damaging a utility when working on another in close proximity. Road crossings are particularly hazardous. Often, there will be a gas or water main, or HV power cable running along the length of the road. Services supplying individual homes will usually run at right angles across these main utility lines. Consequently, replacing these service lines increases the risk of contact with the main lines. Increasingly, utility companies and their contractors are avoiding the use of techniques which may damage other nearby utilities. Where the risk exists, inspection holes are frequently necessary to expose the risk and manage the operation. This increases the time, cost and potential risk of a strike. The disruption and cost of a utility strike is obviously very high and to be avoided, but more importantly is the safety of workers. If the risk is considered too great then open cut excavation may be the only viable option. This is time consuming, expensive and very disruptive to the local community.
There are numerous tools available in the utility industry to help avoid costly utility strikes and protect operators. For example, CAT & genny, BS2020 rated shovels, insulated cutting tools, flame retardant PPE and standards such as HSE’s HSG47 – avoiding danger from underground services – are all used to minimise risks. Risk Assessments and Method Statements are an essential part of any process before works start. The Mechanical Excavation Utility Avoidance Wheel is a simple device developed by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association to assess how to proceed when working with underground utilities. However, some methods of replacing service pipes carry inherent risks of damaging surrounding utilities. Impact moling and open cut trenching both are high risk options.
The solution is the Kobus Pipe Puller. The key lies in the installation of the new service pipe using the bore path created by removal of the old service. By pulling the old pipe out, and replacing it with a new pipe through the same bore hole, there is virtually no risk of utility strikes. Traditional methods such as moling create a brand new pathway for the replacement service. This technique, combined with the lack of ability to steer the mole results in a very high risk of damaging a nearby service. Even in the hands of highly experienced moling operators, ground conditions or rocks can divert the course of the mole.
The Pipe Puller, on the other hand, is merely utilising what is already in place thereby reducing the risk of striking another utility. Add to this, the Pipe Puller removes the old decommissioned pipe from the ground which not only is eliminating the potentially long term environmental contamination caused by the degradation of the old service but significantly removes the problem of the old pipe becoming another signal on a CAT & genny scan in future.
So, as the risks associated with using moling become less acceptable, the alternative of reverting to open cut trenching is also less attractive. High costs, low productivity, massive local disruption, and additional traffic management requirements put pressure on contracts. The Kobus Pipe Puller has to be considered as a viable trenchless alternative when surrounding utilities make moling an unattracctive option.
Note: we ALWAYS advocate that existing utilities are mapped even if using the Pipe Puller.
The Kobus Pipe Puller trenchless technology minimises the risk of utility strikes when replacing service pipes. Watch this short video to find out how
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